By Tom Chapman
While the congressional “Super Committee” failed to produce a deficit reduction plan by the Nov. 23 deadline, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) offers several criteria to help guide difficult budgetary decisions, including:
• Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these”(Matthew 25).The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
• Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
In Iowa state news, Democrat Liz Mathis defeated Republican Cindy Golding in the special election for Senate District 18 near Marion. This will leave the Senate under Democratic control, 26-24, the same as the past session.
Des Moines Bishop Richard Pates has been elected chair of the USCCB Committee on International Peace and Justice. The election took place during the U.S. bishops’ meeting last month.
Several updated web resources were announced during the bishops’meeting. Catholics seeking reliable information on what the Church teaches about marriage may visit www. marriageuniqueforareason.org.
The www.hopeafterabortion.org website has also been updated following a report to the bishops on the post-abortion healing ministry of the Church called Project Rachel. Unfortunately, 30 percent of American women are expected to have an abortion in their lifetime.
The 2012 Prayer Rally for Life will be held March 5 in Des Moines. The keynote speaker will be Walter Hoye II, the founder and president of Issues4Life. More details will follow in the coming months.
The Iowa party caucuses will be held Jan. 3. Most of the focus is on the Republican side as they choose a candidate for president. The Church does not support or oppose candidates for office. However, the Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) strongly supports your involvement in the political process and asks you to consider some important principles before selecting a candidate.
The list of national policy positions in the Faithful Citizenship document at www.faithful
citizenship.org is a good source of information. The ICC encourages you to bring forward local issues of concern to your meetings. The key is to be organized with like-minded others in your precinct.
Msgr. Marvin Mottet of the Davenport Diocese will receive the Servant of Justice Award from the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors. He is being honored for his exemplary contributions to the achievement of the Catholic vision of social justice.
In 1978, Msgr. Mottet was appointed executive director of the National Campaign for Human Development, a post he held until 1985. Afterward, he returned to Davenport and was a founding leader of Quad Cities Interfaith, a congregation-based organization to address the causes of poverty locally. At age 81, Msgr. Mottet continues to advocate for the poor.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said the U.S. Senate should vote to remove four provisions that pose a direct threat to human life from a package of three appropriations bills. Cardinal DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made that request in a Nov. 14 letter. He urged the Senate to support amendments to H.R. 2354 that would correct each of these provisions:
• A provision of the Senate’s Financial Services bill that eliminates Congress’s longstanding provision against federal funding of health plans that cover elective abortions in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). That means Congress will directly use taxpayers funds for elective abortion coverage — contradicting repeated assurances by supporters of the 2010 health care reform law that Congress had no intent of doing so.
• A second provision in the Financial Services bill that would allow congressionally appropriated funds to go to elective abortions in the District of Columbia.
• A third provision involves report language accompanying the State /Foreign Operations bill that “recommends $40 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), despite that agency’s continued support for a brutal program of coerced abortion and involuntary sterilization in China.”
• The fourth provision, Section 7086 of the State/Foreign Operations, would permanently ban restoration of the Mexico City Policy, a policy of the Reagan and Bush administrations that prevented U.S. funding of foreign non-governmental organizations that perform and promote abortion as a method of family planning.
Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said that people praise, honor and serve God “when we care for all living beings by protecting the air, which is God’s gift to us,” in a Nov. 7 address to interfaith leaders. Bishop Blaire spoke at the Festival of Faiths conference in Louisville, Ky.
An updated webpage from the U.S. bishops has a wealth of information about how to get involved in the political process. Go to www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/get-involved/ get-more-information/.
(Tom Chapman is executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference.)